ARTERIA LAB residency in Portugal
My name is Justina, I’m from Lithuania, a small town full of culture called Anykščiai.
I came to ARTERIA_LAB residency in Portugal, Alentejo region from Anykščiai art
incubator – art studio.
My interaction in Arteria _lab was to live and work in new environments, get experience with
modern digital machines, equipment and tell a story in new material form by exploring local
traditions, land, people habits, identity and find compatibility with different cultures, archetypes. To
gain new things in the creative working process with modern technologies.
Arteria_lab seemed close to my new creative searches. From working in the field of art
restoration (in Vilnius), later, creating glass art (in Anykščiai creative hub), also in the field of
visual arts, applied arts (painting, graphics, ceramics…) and art education (workshops) I was
looking for experiments, fresh ideas, new material forms of expression, to combine visual arts,
heritage (archetypes), science, social and cultural environment, while creating sustainable and
responsible art with new forms, shapes to develop and materialize my ideas.
Arteria_lab was a great place for creative process for the period of five days (2023 09 04-
2023 09 08).
At ARTERIA_LAB I found a maker space with digital fabrication machines, such as 3D
printers, CNCs, Laser, 3D scanners… Maker space manager Marius Araújo introduced the whole
working space and surrounding, Évora University, art school places. It was great communication
and so straight to receive advices and support, discussions and instructions before coming and
during the whole residency from research Assistant Natália Melo and maker space manager Marius
I had an approximate plan of work activities and succeeded to fulfill my ideas, but stayed
flexible with leting my creativity flow.
Aprox plan of art activities:
September 4th – arrival, intro, ARTERIA lab, maker space, conversations and plans;
September 5th – searching surroundings, ideas, materials, making sketches;
September 6th – making experiments, art objects (stone, wood, paper, ect);
September 7th – finishing creative forms, objects (stone, wood, paper, ect);
September 8th – presentation
Many ideas came up, from which I chose to implement two. One of them is related to my
current activity – working as an educator with children and youth. I decided to play and create the
game “Tic-tac-toe”, which develops logical thinking skills, encourages communication and playing
in groups, attentiveness, and strategizing to solve problems in creative ways. I drew sketches
exploring Evora city and chose to work with wood, marble stone, and recycled plastic.
I worked with engraving marble stones on the laser machine for the game. But the result
wasn’t good enough, too shallow, slight, so the wood material worked better.
By researching the atmosphere of Evora city, its old town seemed to me as a confusing
labyrinth, I thought of creating a wooden box for this game with a map of Evora, in a shape of
heart, where every step you take leads to a way closer to the exit. The image of the engraved box
was done on the laser machine, and that was an easy material to work with.
Another conception was to create contemporary door handles – knockers for modern
buildings and doors from inspiration of old Portugal decorative tradition, of Moorish origin, named
„Fatima’s hand”. The door knockers symbolizes compassion and generosity, and reflects individual
freedom, social relations, communication, sharing, creativity and „open door“ in a new modern
Perhaps I had a stereotypical opinion about plastic material, like not natural, not easily
handled, decomposed or dissolved by nature. Therefore I decided to work with it by modelling three
dimensional objects while testing new equipment: 3D scanners, laser, cutting machine, which are
essentially computer controlled.
This artwork, called „Connections“ was made by scanning my real hand, working with
several softwares and creating a smaller version of a natural hand ~10 cm, which is usually found
on doors in Portugal, melting recycled plastic and cutting a sculpture.
Thousands of individual points captured during a 3D scanning, recorded the surface
details, textures. And several softwares were used in this long process in which the acquired data
from images, sensors was imported.
So I saw that each equipment and machine has its own specifics. How long I have been
cozying up to the glass material, so there is a lot to learn about new techniques. Thanks to art lab
manager Marius, who helped to discover new opportunities and how they work.
However, the challenge and patience was with the cutting machine. I saw how long it takes
to work with various computer programs when every step must be planned to make the machine
work. Either, not knowing what the ended results will be. It was curious and interesting to work.
I’m very glad I have met another resident Siming Zhang from Barcelona, with whom we
had various discussions on art, travel, and cultural subjects.
I realized that communication, sharing creative work with other artists, in a team, in the community
is an important aspect for my creativity at the moment, so I lacked a bit of social action, since most
of the art lab team and students were still on holidays, I missed the action, interaction and
relationships, but it allowed me to concentrate on my work.
Big big thanks to Anykščiai art incubator-art studio https://www.menuinkubatorius.lt/en/
to Arteria- lab https://arterialab.uevora.pt/
and European Creative Hubs alliance for the opportunity to take part in a new creative place, where
I discovered new paths and opened up even more ways of creative expression.
Yesterday (2023 09 26) I had a nice presentation about art residencies and shared my
experience at Anykščiai art Incubator – art studio in Lithuania.